The Social Media Takeover: BeReal

Analyzing the Growth of French Social Media App, BeReal.

In the spring of 2022, BeReal became a spontaneous topic of conversation. People all over the world began to take a second out of their day, the same second all over the world, to post a photo featuring their inside camera and outside camera. 

For those who do not know, it goes something like this: at 3:41 PM in Charleston, 9:41 PM in London, 2:41 PM in Oklahoma, or any random time once per day, each BeReal user receives a large notification upon his or her mobile device. The notification is surrounded by yellow hazards and states “Time to BeReal” and “2 min left to capture a BeReal and see what your friends are up to!” Essentially, the app makes it very hard to miss. You can still post outside of the two minute window, it just notifies all who see your post that you posted X minutes late. 

The Iconic BeReal Notification

Did I mention that you cannot see your friends’ BeReals until you post yours? When you have not posted a BeReal yet, the app greys-out your friends’ already-posted BeReals and states “Post to view, to view your friends’ BeReal, share yours with them,” only raising the incentive to make a post no matter where you are. The whole idea of the app is to post and see where everyone is at a specific time—the same time.

Once you do post, others are able to comment and react to your BeReal. The app strays from likes, but reactions sort of act as a less competitive method. Reactions are inside camera photos that are sent to the original post creator from those who react. Comments are self explanatory. The best way to take a BeReal is to have someone else snap the photo. Particularly, an unsuspecting person makes the BeReal much more fun.

The best way to take a BeReal is to have someone else snap the photo.”

For example, below you can see how Laura Robertson and Mary Blake Hand, seniors at AMHS, had Mr. Rush snap their BeReal at a tennis event. Often times the photographer is unprepared and unknowingly looks rather weird on the inside camera, but I will say, Mr. Rush’s photo makes me believe that he knew of the app.

Similar to how you may ask a stranger to take a photo of you, you can ask a stranger to take your BeReal…not telling them. For example, on a road trip with my cousin, the BeReal went off while we were refueling at Buc-ee’s, the iconic grocery store-gas station hybrid. We quickly asked an unsuspecting Buc-ee’s employee to snap our photo with the beaver mascot.

All should be educated on BeReal because anyone could be the photographer. Anyone could walk up to you at any moment and ask you to “take a picture,” assuming that you will take an embarrassing photo of yourself for them to flaunt on their profile. Do not end up in that situation.

Although it may seem like a young, underdeveloped program, BeReal allows you to add friends through your contacts, allowing for easy connection with your acquaintances. Whether you want to befriend a former AMHS senior and see what they are up to on the daily in college or to befriend your distant cousin that you see once a year, the options are endless and your curiosity can be cured. 

Navigating the app, one could instantly notice the lack of ads; there are none. The BeReal profile on TikTok uses the slogan “No filters, No followers, No ads, No BS.” BeReal’s purpose is clear: simply to see what everyone is doing at the same exact time. To see everyone’s real personalities. Users are not able to use their favorite photos to show everyone their best life and rack up hundreds of likes, they are simply able to post a natural photo (no filter) once per day. 

Background

BeReal was developed by French entrepreneurs Alexis Barreyat and Kévin Perreau in 2020. The developers wanted the app to be used the original way social media was meant to be used: to connect with friends and family. The app is meant to avoid jealousy and competition as everyone is forced to show their true true self with no preparation. Throughout 2022, BeReal was the second fastest growing social media app, only behind Tiktok. With over 15 million users, the app was valued at around $600 million dollars, but with no in-app purchases the question was raised: how does BeReal make money? Interestingly, the program is still being funded by early investments from Venture Capital companies and most assume that once a loyal base of users has been secured, BeReal will introduce a way to monetize. 

Similar to TikTok, questions have been raised regarding the safety of BeReal; essentially, people were interested to know whether it shares your data (location included) to a third party source. As of November 2022, the privacy policy of BeReal states that they do not sell data to third parties, an assurance that most should value in today’s time. The founders of BeReal, Barreyat and Perreau, seem to be men of their word, only promoting the app for connection between family and friends and to avoid the negativities of social media.

Popularity has soared throughout 2022, as Saturday Night Live even produced a skit featuring Miles Teller which focused on BeReal. You can watch here; essentially, two bank robbers enter a bank and while they are robbing the bank, the BeReal goes off. 

Overall, time will tell whether BeReal is another app that rises with hype and dies out; nonetheless the mission of the founders is admirable.